Rally Racing In Gran Turismo Sport Is Actually Really Fun


In a game designed for online competition, the announcement of rally racing in Gran Turismo Sport came as a bit of a surprise. Although rally first appeared in Gran Turismo 2 — and has introduced real-world rally champions to the sport — off-road racing has always felt like a bit of an afterthought in GT games.

That perception is unlikely to change for GT Sport, but I was still curious to see how the game’s new rally track looked and felt in the latest demo shown off at the GT Awards party last week.


Fisherman’s Ranch, named after the Polyphony Digital engineer who designed it (apparently his Japanese name translates to “fish” in English), is located somewhere in the American southwest. While it is not set against the same scenic backdrop of other famous GT dirt courses like the mountains of Switzerland or the islands of Tahiti, the rough ground and terrain is still a graphical showcase of GT Sport’s new textures and lighting engine.

The shadows cast from each rock and mound of dirt give a sense of depth to the image on screen that simply isn’t there on the tarmac courses.


The rocks and dirt aren’t just for looks, either. If you have played the rally courses in other GT games, you know they are basically composed of track surfaces with lower grip. Fortunately, that is no longer the case in GT Sport. Fisherman’s Ranch is smoother in the middle, with bumps and deeper ruts near the edges of the course that can slow you down or help rotate the car through a corner.

It’s almost a strange thing to experience in a Gran Turismo game, but it works very well, adding a new dynamic to the rally mode that makes it more interesting and challenging.


The experience is enhanced by the game’s updated physics engine. Behind the wheel of a heavily modified Subaru WRX, the car felt lively on the loose surface. It gave me the opportunity to practice the off-road driving skills I picked up at rally school earlier this year, and the techniques I learned translated well into the game. Converting understeer into manageable oversteer at just the right moment through a corner is as satisfyingly difficult in the real world as it is in GT Sport.


Although I have played countless hours of Gran Turismo, I will be first to admit that I have never been particularly interested in or enamored by the series’ rally offerings, but this was different. It was addicting, it was a lot of fun, and I really didn’t want to give up my seat to the next person waiting in line!

Critics, of course, will be quick to point out that GT Sport’s rally mode is the “same old thing” we’ve seen in the franchise for years. They will lament the wide, forgiving dirt circuits like Fisherman’s Ranch are nothing like a “real” rally stage. That’s true, but it is an unreasonably pessimistic critique of a Gran Turismo gameplay feature which may be finally coming into its own on the PlayStation 4.

For the first time, I’m excited about rally racing in a GT game, and I hope we’ll see more of the game’s off-road tracks sooner rather than later. In a game so focused on highly competitive racing, GT Sport’s rally circuits should prove to be a nice diversion.

Until then, here’s some fresh gameplay footage I recorded to hold you over. Unfortunately, there was no sound to be recorded from the demo, so you’re stuck with your new favorite song from the YouTube audio library. And no, before you ask, that’s not me driving…


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Comments (39)

  1. spikyone

    Said it before and I’ll say it again – if PD want multiplayer rallying on wide courses, they would be better off getting a World Rallycross licence. It would give them access to a realistic off-road experience that worked a treat in the Dirt series. And they’d have decent real life cars rather than their imaginary Group B crap.

  2. SZRT Ice

    Seems like one of those slapstick videos with that music. Like they’re clowning/making fun of GT Sport instead of promoting it.

    Still the game looks good, but there’s still something off with the softness/density of the dirt imo. It needs more variety.

  3. DYLAN777-is-not

    The video does more harm then good. The music is a literal joke. There isn’t any sound, the track is as dull as they get, it looks unrealistic, the graphics aren’t better then most games, the camera view doesn’t even show a car. The cars have NO DAMAGE. And the psychics look like nothing special. Plus it’s a camera filming a tv screen. This is grade F material. I’m not hating on the author of this article I’m hating on PD for taking 10 years to make a prologue GT title. Better games get made in basements these days then this group.
    Do what minecraft did and sell the game to a big company. Before long GT will lose all its value if they keep their pace at what it is.

    1. SZRT Ice

      I spot a couple of untruths. Primarily, I think it looks VERY REALISTIC and DOES look better than most games. The rest is down to opinion, so I won’t argue it. However, I’d certainly like to visit the basements you frequent.

  4. Tyger

    Interesting write-up Jordan. I am trying to keep an open mind about this, and GT Sport in general! I think there was *some* variation in the levels of grip between the centre and edges of the track previously too? Just not much, and no little bumps, adverse cambers, ditches and such. Incidentally the word is “addictive”, there is no such word as “addicting” =)

  5. PJTierney

    Question: How does the off-road driving experience compare to DiRT Rally?

    Second question: How does the game feel on a Dualshock 4? In Gran Turismo 6 is was almost impossible to remain competitive against wheel users (in my opinion).

    1. Oyashiro-sama

      And teleports you when you spin/get off track. Couldn’t be more arcadish and silly, totally ruins the fun and the simulation experience. IN REAL LIFE YOU HAVE TO BE AWARE OF MISTAKES OR IT’S OVER. Problem is that they are doing the game with casuals in mind, it’s all about the sales…

    2. Johnnypenso

      It’s possible the teleporting could be something you can set up to your liking. Teleporting for the casuals and race over for the hardcore drivers.

  6. dualshock

    I hope this time when you go to race the game will say ‘Would you like to fit Dirt/Snow tyres?’ rather than having to back, back, back out, back out more, then go into ‘Buy Parts’ then ‘Install Parts’, then back out again, then in, in, in again to get you back in to the race you wanted to just ‘DO’ half an hour ago!

  7. littleregret265

    I definitely think this fits more under rallycross (much like the rest of the GT games), which is definitely not the same rush to me as a true rally stage, and the nets are of course way too strong. However, it does look like a really interesting course to have a pack of RX cars going head to head (even if a bit long), and I trust that the physics improvements will also add to the experience.

    1. Oyashiro-sama

      So true. Rally should be in time trial mode with several point to point courses. But no, let’s put wide tracks and 16 cars racing together to create a mayhem only to be worsen by the big opaque dust cloud that ruins everything to everyone except the leader… saint patience…

    1. SZRT Ice

      No, they should just improve it & make it treacherous, narrow, high speed and adrenaline pumping like rally is suppose to be.

  8. karelpipa

    Its not rally when you have a track wide as a highway and unbreakable fences all around it. Also the driving from what i saw here feels exactly the same as it ever was. Bland.

    1. Matej

      I’m not fan of them either, but closed rally circuits are still great for online competitions. They mimic rallycross surprisingly well.

    1. Jordan Greer

      I’m not usually a “hot rod” kind of guy, but I thought the ’51 Ford was a work of art. It was definitely my pick to win this year’s GT Awards and I have no doubt it will become a Photo Mode favorite thanks to all the little details.

  9. Szuper

    “Rally Racing In Gran Turismo Sport Is Actually Really Fun”
    “But sorry, you cant play it” :P GTPlanet teased…

  10. celtiscorpion73

    It’s the barriers that seem to be a big problem for a lot of people. The realism goes right out the window when nets are as strong as concrete.

  11. Chameleon

    I have to admit it looks astonishingly good. Every single pile of dirt, rock and tyre track has that depth you talked about.

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